Tuesday 27 February 2018

Meet James Burrows - playing Michelle's son Alex in Corrie

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Michelle Connor's real, biological son Alex Neeson is returning to Coronation Street.  Now then, before you get confused (I know I am!), yes, Michelle had a son called Ryan Connor.  Ryan was the baby she brought up thinking he was her own biological son but she later found out there'd been a swap in the hospital and he wasn't hers after all.  

Her real son Alex later turned up - and now he's returning to Corrie, calling himself Ali this time round.  Here's an interview with actor James Burrows who will be joining the cast as Ali.

How did the part of Ali come about for you?
It started with a call from my agent, then a meeting at Coronation Street where I read the script and a few weeks later I got a call back to say well done we’d like to see you for a screen test. So I came back to the street for a screen test and luckily a few weeks after that I got a call to say I’d got the part. 

How did you feel when you found out you’d got the part, did you have a good feeling after the screen test?    
Very good yes and I was very excited when I got the call, I’ve never done a soap before so that side of things is very new to me but I was really excited about the character and where I can take him.

The last time we saw Ali he and Michelle had made the decision that their mother/son relationship couldn’t be rebuilt, so what brings Ali back to the street?
He’s a trainee doctor and he comes to Weatherfield on placement at the medical practice but from the outset he makes it clear it wasn’t his choice to be there. 

We instantly see that Ali isn’t keen to establish a relationship with Michelle, despite her being his birth mother, why is that?
I think he’s a bit troubled, his mum hasn’t been there for him recently and he’s very standoffish with Michelle. He gives the impression that Wendy (the mum who brought him up) has turned away from him since the baby swap was uncovered but maybe he’s telling a few porkie pies. It seems he’s been very distant from both Wendy and Michelle and now he’s arrived in Weatherfield on a medical placement and it happens to be where his biological mother lives. He makes it clear he doesn’t want to be in Weatherfield, well that’s what he’s saying anyway!

Is Ali very career focussed?
I think so yes, he’s a very intelligent lad, he’s been to medical school, but I also think he has a slight laddie side to him as well, he’s not a geek, there’s a lot more interesting angles to him than him just being a doctor. He’s quite cool, the way he dresses etc. 

Ali arrives without a girlfriend, does he have his sights set on anyone?
I think he might have his eye on someone, there’s definitely someone on the street who interests him.

Ali’s a very interesting character, is all as it seems with him?  
I think he’s a little bit of a mystery, I’m still working him out myself. He’s very different to the characters I’ve usually played, I’ve never played a doctor before so it’s been really interesting getting my head around that. I normally play a bad boy; the murderer or drug dealer.   

He sounds like quite a complex character, are you looking forward to getting your teeth into the character?
Yes I’m really looking forward to finding out more about him and seeing his character unravel. I started filming just before Christmas so it’s all starting to unfold a bit for me now, it’s getting interesting and I’m really looking forward to playing it out. The thing with soap is you don’t always know where your character is going, it’s not like a drama where you have a beginning, a middle and an end and you know how to play it, it’s very different and that’s going to be interesting.  

How have you found your first few weeks filming on Corrie, is it different to anything you’ve done before?
It’s very different to working on a film set or the dramas I’ve done in the past, it’s very fast paced, when you come in you’ve really go to be on it.

Have you been given a warm welcome?
Everyone has been lovely, I’ve been welcomed with open arms which has been really nice. It’s a really great environment to work in.

What other jobs have you worked on recently before starting on Corrie?
Last year I was doing a drama called Love, Lies & Records written by Kay Mellor, I also played a character in Stephen Merchant’s new film called Fighting with My Family.  

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Monday 26 February 2018

Kajagoogoo in the Kabin on Coronation Street

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog February 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Last night on Coronation Street, Dev brought into Roy's Rolls those fright wigs and suggested that one of them was a Kajagoogoo wig.  

Now, that name rung a bell.

Here's 1980s pop band Kajagoogoo lead singer Limah in the Kabin with Sharon Bentley, played by Tracy Bennett.

It looks to me that this was a posed photoshoot, rather than Limahl actually appearing in Coronation Street in an acting role.  

But if you know different, do please leave a comment in the box below!

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Sally Ann Matthews, Brooke Vincent premiere their new thriller film

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Coronation Street's Brooke Vincent (Sophie Webster) and Sally Ann Matthews (Jenny flaming Bradley / Connor) have launched their new thriller film in which they play mother and daughter.

This week they attended the premiere of the film, which was set and shot in Manchester, called Chapter 1:Liv 53Two on Albion Street in Manchester.

Brooke plays Liv a young woman who wakes up three weeks after an almost fatal car accident and her mum, played by Sally Ann, tries to help her remember exactly what happened. But what she soon discovers is that some things are maybe best left forgotten.

The Manchester Evening News have some wonderful pictures from the premiere. You can view them all here.

Chapter 1: Liv will be released at film festivals this year before being made available online in 2019 and pre-production for the next in the Liv series is already underway.

Find out more by following  @chapter1livfilm on Twitter.

Read more Corrie news, interviews, gossip and spoilers  

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Sunday 25 February 2018

Review: Corrie's Chris Harper in Strangers on a Train

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Nathan may be locked up, but the effect that he had had on Bethany continues to wreak havoc on the street. Meanwhile, the brilliant actor who played the manipulative Nathan so well, is treading the boards in Strangers on a Train. We went along to the first night in Manchester. 

Chris Harper is currently playing Charles Bruno; one of life's players in an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train. And he delivers a chilling performance, which highlights just how much stage experience he had, prior to stepping onto the street. 

This old fashioned thriller pushes all of the right buttons and some scenes have the feel of Fatal Attraction, as Bruno worms his way into the lives of a couple, following a train journey. 

For Emmerdale fans, there is another treat in the form of John Middleton as an amateur sleuth. He is excellent, but it's Chris Harper who holds the piece together. 

At times, the pace flags, and when it does, it feels like a train journey with too many stops. But, Strangers on a Train is worth the ride, and Harper proves there is life after Corrie. 

Glenn Meads

Guest blog post by Glenn Meads who is on Twitter and LinkedIn

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

5 Reasons Why I Love Toyah Battersby

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)

When Toyah Battersby came back to the cobbles, many fans commented on her dress sense and even though she did look a bit 'Sapphire and Steel', with the polar neck and pendant combos, I still bloody love Leanne's sister and here's why.

1. She is in a Vegan club. This is used for comedy and it does make you smile, when the gang arrive, pulses and all. But, I love the fact that Toyah is health conscious and that she cares about bigger issues than the pumps running dry. 

2. She has counselling certs. Again, this provides comedy, as Toyah manages to get it into many conversations, but beyond the gags, she cares deeply about people. True, she thinks she can be the 'fixer', but it beats being the home wrecker! 

3. Her sense of humour. Every now and then, Toyah comes out with something very sharp and witty. And it provides the perfect balance to some of the more emotive storylines she has been involved in. More later.

4. Her desire to be a mum. I know the Eva keeping the baby a secret story is stretching things, but Toyah's attempts to have a baby have been heartbreakingly real. Georgia Taylor has been fantastic and you really feel her pain. 

5. She's a good all-rounder. The perfect sister, a down to earth aunt, an understanding partner, and a loyal and brilliant friend. If Toyah was related to you, or she was your pal, she would have your back all of the time. 

Georgia Taylor is underrated in my book, as she truly understands what makes Toyah tick. And she is an absolute joy to watch. Toyah's clobber? Well, she is unique and I welcome her wearing hemp and other vegan friendly items, because Toyah is my favourite! 

By Glenn Meads

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Saturday 24 February 2018

Canadian Coronation Street schedule back to normal

The Winter Olympics have drawn to a close and Coronation Street is back to the normal viewing schedule this week, with the omnibus back on screen on Sunday, March 4. That means TWO episodes on Mondays with one each on the rest of the week days and a 3 hour omnibus.

Even though we didn't get a sixth episode airing these past two weeks, the storyline is still only about 2 weeks behind the UK air dates. For Monday, February 26, we are seeing one episode that aired in the UK on February 12 and one from the 14th. I know we all still shudder with the memories of the dark days when we were nearly 11 months behind. Thanks to CBC for pulling us out of the hole. Two weeks give or take, I can take it. The closest we ever were before was about six weeks difference so two weeks was beyond my wildest imagination and I'm quite happy with it!

Sunday Comments return on Sunday March 4. 

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Is this the beginning of the end for Peter and Toyah?

(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Ever since her return, it has been evident that Peter has been seriously rattled by Carla’s presence. And that was even before Carla began going out with Daniel, Peter’s much younger brother. That must rankle. It does, but why? Isn’t Peter with Toyah now, the love of his life, running a pub together with everything going so well? Well, apparently not. Even before the return of Carla, in physical form, she loomed large in Toyah’s consciousness, and she will be watching Peter’s reaction to Carla’s presence, fearing that he still has feelings for her.

Carla and Peter, in the short time she has been back, have developed a kind of warring relationship, both determined to show the other that they could not give a damn. Protesting too much? I’ll say! Carla was particularly vituperative towards Peter, telling him that if he was the last man on earth, she wouldn’t give him a second look – or at least, words to that effect.

Toyah is no fool – she can see what is going on…Peter and Carla - both a little wild, unconventional and with plenty of history, do seem to be a threat to the stability of Toyah and Peter.

Peter and Toyah have never seemed particularly well matched – despite the words we hear the two characters say. We’ve talked here on the blog several times about their lack of spark and credibility as a couple. And it doesn’t get any better;  in fact it feels as if whatever shine there was, is now becoming tarnished.

To want a baby desperately and not to be able to conceive one, must be heart breaking, but at the same time, it can put a dreadful strain on a relationship. Peter was never over-keen on producing another child, but he did it for Toyah. Surrogate Jackie seemed to offer the solution, but it was revealed that she lost the baby. As luck would have it, for Toyah at least, if not for Eva, Eva became pregnant with a baby she did not want. It wouldn’t take a genius to see that possibly something could be worked out, despite practical difficulties.

It’s worth reminding ourselves that as yet, Toyah hasn’t told Peter that Jackie has had a miscarriage. Does that mean that the state of Peter and Toyah’s relationship isn’t as good as it could be? Toyah then is no stranger to deception and of course, Peter has previous form in the deception stakes. Peter will surely discover at some point that Jackie is no longer pregnant, so will wonder where the baby has come from. He might use the discovery of the baby’s having been Eva’s and Toyah’s consequent deception, as an excuse to leave her. Maybe though, as Toyah will be so engrossed in having a baby to look after,  Peter’s leaving will not be such a big deal as it might once have been.

If then Peter does still have feelings for Carla, how will he cope as she lies in hospital in desperate need of a kidney. Yes, all being well, Aidan will provide, but it's risky and even a friend would be concerned, so Peter may well struggle to keep his feelings at bay.

This is all speculation of course, and there’s nothing wrong in that. Time, as ever, will tell.

By Ruth Owen, twitter: @ruth1722

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Friday 23 February 2018

Conversation Street Podcast 294

Gemma and Michael's podcast for the  episodes that aired up to last night's Canadian Corrie can be heard here.

Welcome to Episode 294 of the podcast. Our top discussion point in Street Talk this week is Zeedan's contract with the Habeebs - it's a shady deal for sure, but is it about honour-based abuse as much as some people are making out? Also this week, there's a surprising match for Carla's kidney (well, surprising for us at least, as we didn't think it'd be this simple!) and Pat puts the frighteners on Steph. Next up, we do a classic character profile on Concepta Regan (warning - contains terrible and probably insensitive attempts at Irish accents!) then find out about a couple of new book releases that may be of interest to Corrie viewers in The Kabin. We round things off with some musical musings from Morgan in the feedback sections.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Five Things We Learned In Corrie This Week

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Sinead is like a good racer - or maybe a BMX.  How dare you Brian!  I think you'll find Maria is the Weatherfield bike.  She worked hard to get that trophy (admittedly she was lying down most of the time) and I won't have you take it away from her.  Sinead's more of a unicycle; largely useless, really annoying and only ridden by clowns.

Tintin's turned to the Dark Side.  I suppose he's got to find some way to fill time now the movies have dried up, but I wouldn't have thought the hero of Destination Moon would spend his Monday nights laughing at the working classes.  Someone get Captain Haddock to take him home before he sticks the Castafiore Emerald in the jukebox.

Even the announcers are sick of Weatherfield General.  "You can join Carla in hospital in half an hour" sighed the continuity man at the end of Wednesday's first episode.  His "hey, at least you can turn it off" was implied but unvoiced.  I'm starting to wonder if the crisis in the NHS is entirely down to the residents of Coronation Street cycling in and out of the wards.  It'd be cheaper for Jeremy Hunt to carpet bomb Weatherfield and wipe it off the map than keep funding their endless rounds of operations and ambulances.

Zeedan has the constitution of an ox.  When I was sixteen, at a party, I was dared to drink a pint of whisky in one go.  I did it because as I say, I was sixteen.  Four hours later I regained consciousness in a bathtub with my shirt missing and the percussion section of the London Philharmonic beginning an epic rehearsal inside my skull that would last for the next two days.  Zeedan - who has been teetotal his whole life - knocked back a whole bottle of single malt, maybe two, and woke up next morning with a bit of a head.  One round of toast later and he was well enough to cause snarling havoc with the in-laws.  In reality he'd have spent most of that day crouched over the porcelain praying for death.

They're just putting the trailers in the show now. "Guess what!" said Liz to Toyah. "They've asked me back at the Medical Centre."  She later added, "apparently they've got a new doctor... word is, he's quite hot."  Then she turned to the camera and said "There'll be all sorts of hilarious hi-jinks, plus a shocking secret is revealed!  Monday at seven thirty."

@merseytart would willingly put up with a little bit of abject humiliation if it meant he got to snog Henry.  He may have self-esteem issues.  

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter
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